An advertisement for a writer's retreat.

The busiest days of the Baptist World Alliance annual gathering don’t start until Tuesday, July 28, so I had only a full afternoon of meetings, leaving enough free time to find a grocery store this morning (for Diet Coke — “Coke Light” in most of the world), and to explore the neighborhood this evening.

Ede is a lovely town of about 65,000, located in the middle of the Netherlands, in a province called Gelderland. It’s green this time of year, surrounded by fields of corn and other grain, lots of pastures and lots of cows, sprinkled with sheep here and there.

It seems that every house has manicured surroundings, often more garden than lawn. Some of the houses have thick thatch roofs, while most others have clay tiles — hardly an asphalt shingle in sight.

In Ede, as in Amsterdam, bicycles are everywhere, ridden by people of every description, including some wearing high heels. Parking lots, like this one near the train station, are much more likely to feature bicycles than cars, and it doesn’t take but a quick look at a nearby gas station to tell why: 1.29 euros per liter of gas works out to about $7.25 per gallon.

So, the next time you fill up at $2.50 per gallon, you may want to exchange that grumbling complaint for a prayer of thanksgiving.

In Ede and elsewhere, there are many reasons to give thanks.

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